The Holy Great Martyr Marina was born in Asia Minor, in the city of Antioch of Pisidia (southern Asia Minor), into the family of a pagan priest. In infancy, she lost her mother, and her father gave her into the care of a nursemaid, who raised Marina in the Orthodox Faith. Upon learning that his daughter had become a Christian, her father disowned her. When she was fifteen years old, St. Marina was arrested and thrown in prison.
Governor Olymbrios was charmed when he saw the beautiful girl, and tried to persuade her to renounce the Christian Faith and become his wife. But Marina refused his offers. The governor became angry and ordered that Marina be tortured. She was fiercely beaten, then fastened to a board and her body torn with hooks. The governor hid his face, unable to witness her suffering. However, Marina refused to yield. Thrown again into prison, an angel appeared and healed her wounds. The next day, she was stripped and tied to a tree, then burned. Barely alive, she prayed: “Lord, You have granted me to go through fire for Your Name, grant me also to go through the water of holy Baptism.”
Hearing the word “water,” Governor Olymbrios ordered that Marina be drowned in a large cauldron. She cried out to the Lord and asked that this mode of torture should become her holy Baptism. As she was plunged into the water, there suddenly shone a light, and a snow-white dove came down from Heaven, bearing in its beak a golden crown. The chains that had been placed on Marina came apart, and she stood up in the fount glorifying the Holy Trinity. She emerged completely healed, without any trace of burns.
Amazed at the site, those present glorified the True God and confessed their faith in Christ. Upon hearing this, the governor flew into a rage and gave orders to kill anyone who confessed Christ. Over 15,000 Christians perished, and Marina was beheaded. Her sufferings were described by an eyewitness of the event named Theotimos.
Up until the invasion of Constantinople by Western crusaders in 1204, St. Marina’s relics were located in the Panteponteia Monastery. According to other sources, they were located in Antioch until 908 and from there transferred to Italy. They are now in Athens, Greece, in a church dedicated to her. St. Marina’s venerable hand was transferred to Mount Athos and is located in the Batopedi Monastery.
Troparion (Tone 4) –
Your lamb Marina calls out to You, O Jesus, in a loud voice:
“I love You, my Bridegroom, and in seeking You I endure suffering.
In baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You,
and I died so that I might live with You.
Accept me as a pure sacrifice,
for I have offered myself in love.”
Through her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.
Kontakion (Tone 3) –
Adorned with the beauty of virginity,
you have been crowned with unfading crowns, O Marina.
Having shed your blood in holy martyrdom,
and radiant with the miracles of healing,
you have received from the hand of your Creator the prize of victory
By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org )